University Alliance campaign about value of going to university

David Willetts, Universities Minister, launching More than just a degree


More than just a degree

University Alliance today launches its campaign about the value of going to university.

David Willetts has joined students and university leaders to launch a national campaign about the value of going to university.

Following the launch of the Government’s own public information campaign to explain the new student finance package, University Alliance, a group of leading business-engaged universities, is launching More than a degree: stories from empowered students, to highlight the value of going to university, both for the individual and for the economy.


Recognising the importance of the investment being made by students, now and even more in the future, all 23 Alliance universities have signed up to a vision as part of the campaign explaining how what they offer is so much more than just a degree.

Universities Minister David Willetts said:

“A degree is an excellent investment and one of the best pathways to a good job. As this publication demonstrates it’s also important that universities actively develop the wider skills that are highly prized by employers and help sustain graduates throughout their careers.

“Improving information for prospective students about what they can expect at university is a key part of our future plans for higher education. Students should expect clear, comparable information about what and how they will learn, how their course is regarded and their employment prospects.”


Libby Hackett (née Aston), Director of University Alliance, said:

“We welcome the campaign launched by Government this week. At this critical moment, when many young people are considering their future, misunderstanding the student finance system is becoming a real barrier. It is important for universities to better explain the value of going to university and getting access to the best jobs, especially now that successful graduates are going to have to contribute more towards the cost of their degrees. That is why all 23 Alliance universities have today signed up to Our vision: more than just a degree.

“It is vital for the economy that we maintain the high number of people applying to university. Economic recovery and growth will rely heavily on work-ready, innovative graduates. With their strong economic relevance and close partnership with business, this is a particular focus of Alliance universities as demonstrated in our leading graduate employment levels.”

Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor at the University of Lincoln and lead Vice Chancellor on the campaign said:

“With all of the headlines about fees the question of the value of a degree is now again being challenged. As Vice Chancellors and universities, we need to be better at explaining how valuable a University experience is. We do not take the increased investment our graduates will be making in the future lightly.  We are clear our job is to re-invest in our students, to create an environment that is filled with opportunities rich and diverse so students can continue to benefit from a unique set of experiences, whichever path they choose.”

Aaron Porter, NUS President, said:

“Now is a really important time for the whole university community, including students, to tell the story about the value of a degree. We welcome the University Alliance campaign to bring together the stories of empowered students and we hope that this starts a wider dialogue between existing students and those considering whether university is for them.”

A student featured in the campaign, Amy Guy, said:

“If graduates are going to be contributing more to their degree there is even more of a reason for them to take charge of their time at university. For me it is about making the most of the opportunities encountered while at university.”

Jamie O’Connell, Marketing Director The Student Room, said:

“This is an exciting and refreshingly positive initiative. We need a loud and clear student voice that tells the personal story of why going to university is so valuable. We are exploring ways of gathering more of these stories on The Student Room so that students, undecided as to whether to attend university in light of the new funding system, are fully aware of the benefits of attending.”

Rajeeb Dey, CEO of & Co-Founder of StartUp Britain, said:

“Going to university is definitely more than just getting a degree. It is important that we shine a spotlight on the fantastic contribution students make to wider society and the range of activities they engage with whilst at University. All too often we hear of university students as couch-potatoes – but More than a degree highlights how that’s simply not the case. I myself got involved with our student enterprise society in my First Year and took a sabbatical between my 2nd and 3rd year to run the society full-time. Running Oxford Entrepreneurs gave me the inspiration, skills, confidence and network to set up my current business which I started alongside my studies but began working on full-time after graduating in 2008. This report conveys the remarkable achievements of many students from across the country and no doubt will inspire many more students to make the most of their university experience

// Ends //

Notes to editors:

  1. For further information about the campaign or to attend the launch event, please contact Sam Jones at the University Alliance office on 07767 673 982 or email
  2. More than a degree: stories of empowered students is a collection of stories from students across Alliance universities – see full publication enclosed. It tells the story of the impact university can have on an individual if they make the most of it. Not just in terms of career prospects but in the way the broad opportunities encountered at university prepare and empower students for life.
  3. Our vision: more than a degree sets out the broad offer to students across Alliance universities – see the vision enclosed with this press release.
  4. University Alliance is a group of 23 major, business-engaged universities committed to delivering world-class research and a quality student experience around the UK. They are universities without boundaries: delivering economic and social growth through close links with their research, students and staff and the world around them – locally, nationally and internationally. With representation right across the UK they educate over 25% of all UK students, with large proportions of international and post-graduate students.
  5. Alliance universities: Aberystwyth University, Bournemouth University, University of Bradford, De Montfort University, University of Glamorgan, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Hertfordshire, University of Huddersfield, University of Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University, Nottingham Trent University, Open University, Oxford Brookes University, University of Plymouth, University of Portsmouth, University of Salford, Sheffield Hallam University, Teesside University, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, University of Wales, Newport, University of the West of England.


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